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Eating Behaviors and the Brain Part 5

How do we decide what we’re going to eat? There are two primary driving forces behind eating. 1) There is homeostatic eating, which is where we eat so we can get the energy and nutrients our body needs to maintain homeostasis or a normal internal environment. 2) Then, there is hedonic eating, which is where we eat for pleasure or to manage our emotional states.

Hormones and Eating

Almost all of our meals are a mix of both homeostatic and hedonic eating. There are many hormones that influence our appetite. One of them is known as ghrelin. It’s often called the hunger hormone. It will stimulate our appetite. It peaks before meals and falls to lower levels during and immediately after eating, as our body knows we’re now getting the energy and nutrients we need. But this is not the only hormone that influences our eating.

There’s also a hormone involved in satiety, or a feeling of satisfaction, called leptin. Leptin is secreted by our fat cells and helps regulate energy balance. What’s supposed to happen as we gain weight is that leptin levels will rise and tell an area of our brain that we should not eat as much, that we have adequately stored energy in our body. However, for many people, as they continue to gain weight, their leptin levels proceed to rise, but they continue to be very hungry. The brain stops listening to the leptin. This is thought to be due to leptin resistance and is one of the challenges of losing weight if you’ve had chronic obesity.

This is a hormonal issue, and not under your conscious control.

Doctor’s Conclusion

Your hunger and eating are shaped by many factors, including your genetics, social cues, learned behaviors, environmental factors, your circadian rhythms, hormones, stress and emotional states, getting enough sleep, and your physical activity. So you see, it’s very complicated. Science still does not have the secret to hunger and eating, although we’re getting closer. We don’t really understand everything that makes us start eating.

But we’ve learned a lot about what causes us to stop eating. There’s more on that in our next post in the series.


There is an uncomplicated and understandable truth about eating and health. We want to make it easy for you. Join us at Health Shepherds, follow us on Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

Transforming Your Habits to Transform Your Health Part 6

Your behaviors are essentially the manifestations of your subconscious thoughts. Your thought life is ultimately directed by what you believe. I’m not talking about your specific religious or political beliefs, I’m talking about how the beliefs you have about yourself impact your health.

Where Do Beliefs Come From?

“The goal is to understand our underlying belief system, strengthen the beliefs that serve us, discard those those that do not, and move to a healthier state of living.”

Your beliefs and values were formed before you even understood what thinking was.

From your birth until young childhood, your brain was in an open and receptive state. Those around you with influence helped shape your belief system, and you accepted what they taught you. This became your foundational thinking.

There are 2 things you need to take away from today’s lesson:

  • Your beliefs drive your thoughts and actions.  
  • You didn’t choose most of your beliefs; they were imprinted onto you.

“We have to begin to create the right ideas of what health is.”

An example of a belief: “I don’t have self-control.”

When someone needs to change their approach to their eating habits, I hear this belief stated as “fact.” It’ll often be stated by somebody who’s highly successful. I then point out that they absolutely do have self-control, but they’re not directing it towards optimal nutrition. They just need to apply a new belief with an understanding of eating behaviors.

Another false belief: “Because I’m overweight, I’m unhealthy.”

eye looking at reflection in glass

That could be true, but not necessarily. Many individuals are genetically heavy but still healthy! We must create the right ideas of what health is. Health may involve you being leaner, but not necessarily.

Recognize a Pattern

When you come across a belief that makes you feel bad about yourself, you need to recognize that, and you need to ask yourself:

“Where did this belief come from?”

“At what moment did this belief feel true?”

“Why am I going to continue to be controlled by a belief that I didn’t choose that makes me feel bad?”

Language is a powerful force. You need to replace the language of your beliefs. Then negative beliefs about yourself will be replaced with a belief that helps you feel good about yourself. You have to “go all in” for the new narrative you’re giving yourself.

Have You Examined Your Belief System?

“Your beliefs are basically interpretations of your experiences, a way of organizing your thoughts about your life, your identity, and your place in the universe.”

Most people have never stopped and truly examined their beliefs. They’ve just accepted whatever was imprinted into them. The important thing to understand is some of these beliefs may be very good and are serving you well, and some of them may, in fact, be sabotaging your health.

The goal is to understand our underlying belief system, strengthen the beliefs that serve us, discard those that do not, and move to a healthier state of living.

Your beliefs are basically interpretations of your experiences.

How bad do you want it message on cellphone

It’s your way of organizing your thoughts about your life, your identity, and your place in the universe. It’s really important to understand what beliefs and thoughts are creating our behaviors. For example:

  • What makes me eat the same foods day in and day out? 
  • Why do you drink what you drink?
  • How do I continue to have the same sleeping problems for the past 10 years?

These are just a few…

Understanding Your Belief System Is Important

Once you understand where these beliefs came from, the better able you are to discern why you react and respond to life’s circumstances.

From there, you’re able to change the way you react and respond in a manner that would support your best health, such as choosing to eat nutritious foods, or choosing movement, or choosing to turn off the television and do something more productive for your mind and body.

How Can I Change My Inner Life?

“We’re going to start on a fresh, clean slate. You’re going to begin to better understand these subconscious drivers of your behaviors.”

Because it affects how you engage with the external world, we’re going to focus on how you change your inner life. This also involves strengthening an area of your mind that I refer to as the higher mind. We have to fortify our higher mind for it to work for us. That’s the part of us that allows us to dream big and then go pursue those desires.

In the next post, I’ll talk about what I mean by that. I know this may seem a little abstract or confusing. The main thing is to know yourself, to recognize that everything you’re doing is in response to thoughts that are based on beliefs and that you have the ability to restructure your mind. You have the ability to think yourself into a healthier you. You have that power, and you must believe it. and put it into practice., The work is learning how to look at ourselves in a non-judgmental way. Let me repeat that.

This self-examination is in a non-judgmental manner.

You do not need to bring blame, shame, or guilt into this new life. We’re going to start on a fresh, clean slate. You’re going to begin to better understand these subconscious drivers of your behaviors.

Do you have questions about a personalized approach to your wellbeing?  Contact us, like us, and follow us. Want a deeper understanding? Read more in Authentic Health.